Huawei Ascend Mate

With a 6.1in screen, the Huawei Ascend Mate is the smartphone with the "world's largest screen", but can it challenge the dominance of the Samsung Galaxy Note?

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Huawei, like ZTE, will become a much bigger force to be reckoned with in 2013 in the smartphone world. Building on initial success with lower-end smartphones, both companies will launch premium devices in all markets this year.

Huawei will launch the Ascend D2 with a 5in Full HD display as their flagship smartphone, but it is the Ascend Mate with its huge 6.1in screen which is making the most waves here at CES this week.

The phone is huge. There is no getting away from the fact that the 6.1in screen is simply too cumbersome for easy one-handed use. However, Huawei has done its best to package the phone in such a way as to make it just about useable.

This is done by giving the phone a 73 percent screen-to-body ratio which is more than any other phone on the market. What this means is the Ascend Mate is all screen and not much else.

The first thing I noticed about the phone was how light it felt, even though at 198g it is 15g more than the Galaxy Note 2. It is also slightly thicker at 9.9mm compared to 9.4mm, but you don't really notice the difference.

The phone is powered by a Huawei-made dual-core processor supported by 2GB of RAM. It will run Android 4.1 but the user interface has been tweaked significantly without doing anything to enhance the user experience - something which happens across the vast majority of Android devices.

I was unable to test the phone's 8 megapixel camera properly on the CES show floor but it didn't seem as if it was anything special.

The BIG deal with this phone is that Huawei can make the bold claim to owning the "smartphone with world's largest screen." But so what?

It seems as if Huawei were simply looking to fulfil a tagline rather than think about what a user might want from his or her smartphone. At 6.1in, the Ascend Mate is getting perilously close to the 7in tablets which became so popular during 2012.

The Ascend Mate will probably sell well, especially in Huawei's home territory of China, and elsewhere if the company manages to undercut the price of the extremely popular Galaxy Note range, but is this now the limit for smartphone screen sizes? Unlikely.